Let's just fantasize for a moment and try to visualise an organisational environment where people don't fear change but actually welcome it. This feels a bit like John Lennon's "Imagine"! What would it take to make this possible? Is this possible? A "readiness for change" culture is essentially a culture that is not only ready for change, but is also a culture that accepts change and even thrives on it. So what does a "readiness for change" culture look like?
(1) An informed workforce An informed workforce can be defined as a workforce that understands both the organisational vision, strategy and objectives and yet at the same time understands how what they do individually and as teams in their everyday work moves the organisation towards (or away from) these objectives. When an informed workforce sees the organisational "big picture," they are far better equipped to make good decisions and to come up with innovative and problem solving ideas.
(2) An empowered workforce An empowered workforce is allowed and encouraged to initiate day-to-day improvements on their own authority. Because they are informed, they can exercise their empowerment, as they know what impact it will have; plus, they are more likely to act quickly and responsively. An empowered workforce is re-inforced with the knowledge of their boundaries and has the freedom to exercise their decision rights (without interference) within the security of these well-defined and universally recognised boundaries.
(3) An outspoken workforce An outspoken workforce is one that is encouraged to identify and discuss important issues they would in any other circumstances be either unaware of or unwilling to address - you could call this a preparedness to "speak the unspeakable". An outspoken workforce that is informed and empowered recognises that these difficult issues are often the key to unblocking serious log-jams and will speak out, whereas the typical un-informed and un-empowered workforce will often feel that these issues are just "too sensitive", or too "politically difficult" or just plain fraught to openly expressed.
What are the leadership qualities that make all this possible?
First and foremost the leadership qualities that build and create a "change readiness" culture are totally focused on understanding and "reverse-engineering" the critical disconnects between organisational leadership and management, and the rest of the non-management employees.
These disconnects can be summarized as an organisational management and leadership that is detached from direct feedback from the frontline and the human consequences of their decisions. This is all about moving away from the prevalent transactional leadership style with its reward and punishment mechanisms to gain compliance, and moving towards facilitative leadership that engages directly with the informal networks and aspects of the organisation.
This isn't so hard for organisational leadership to take on board and enact once they realise that in so doing they are dealing directly with the crustacean rock bottom root causes of resistance to change whilst simultaneously unleashing a flood of new innovations and solutions.
Trouble is that are still way too many organisational leaders who act like "monkeys with their fists stuck in the jar" and who clench their fists as they hang onto to the "sweeties" of command and control. And we all know what happened to the monkeys....
To find out more about "Change Management and Readiness" please see: Change Management Risk Assessment.
Equip yourself to avoid the 70% failure rate of all change initiatives with this FREE download: Starting the Change Process "